Switching From Tower to Ground After Landing

After landing I’m usually instructed by Tower to exit the runway when able and to contact Ground.
Sometimes it’s done with a hand-off which I like more.
A few times now though I was already on an exit and hadn’t heard anything from Tower.

Do I request a frequency change, or do I just switch from Tower to Ground myself?
I don’t want to be rude and leave a frequency without permission but I also don’t want to bother Tower when he’s clearly busy, since it’s easy to switch yourself.

What’s the best way?


I would just switch. Saves towers workload, and I doubt they will have any issue :)


If it’s the same person on ground and tower I will just switch over.
The only real exception is places like Seattle or Dusseldorf where you might need to cross a runway. If so I usually do things “by the book”.

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When you’re safely off the runway and tower hasn’t said anything just switch your self :)

Nothing’s more annoying when a plane is blocking a runway exit! :D


It’s just like switching from ground to tower when you’re ready for takeoff, you don’t request it. The ‘exit runway when able and contact ground’ command is primarily used by Adv. controllers, if you fly on the PG server you most likely would have to change freq yourself anyway

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PG controllers use “exit runway when able” command! I know I do :)

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Yeah some of them will, just not all (:

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Sometimes ATC gives you the instruction to exit runway, cross runway xx and contact ground, then do that.

If they tell you to hold short runway XX in the exit command then just hold short, no need to ask for permission to cross, we know you’re there.

And yes, you are allowed and should switch to ground without a frequency change request, just make sure to be past the hold short line.

I just say thanks good day and then switch frequencies so it doesn’t seem as if it’s rude


Just a kind reminder to all pilots,do not switched on immediately to ground freq the moment u touched down the runaway,its extremely annoying to see that happen and make things more difficult to give instructions especially when there is runaway crossings.once u landed give some few seconds for the controller to instruct you to exit runaway and contact ground.

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Usually when this happens just switch because from experience even though the tower is supposed to tell you, he is busy with more requests that are somewhat more important than that one and dealing with the fact that alot of people on here dont know a thing or two about ATC etiquette so they all request back to back sp he’s scrambling trying to accommodate them before getting timed out for having too many unresponsive requests!

What do you think is best or right or wrong @Tyler_Shelton?

“When landed, exit the runway as soon as possible and taxi well past the hold short line. Contact ground directly. Do not ask the tower for a frequency change.”


How would you know that?
You can only find out by switching to Ground which is only possible after touchdown.

It is possible to check who is operating Tower and Ground by tapping on the airport and checking who is on each frequency.


I love all this contradicting information. :)


Don’t see any contradiction here.

You should get an “exit runway” command, and you should listen to that command, for often it includes a “cross runway” instruction, which you could follow without asking ground again.

You should “exit the runway as soon as possible and taxi well past the hold short line. Contact ground directly. Do not ask the tower for a frequency change.”

Always: contact ground, when off the runway. Don’t stop on the runway to contact ground, don’t stop on the runway to ask for a frequency change, don’t contact ground, when still on the runway

If you don’t receive an “exit runway” command - exit the runway (and contact ground thereafter). If you receive the command: follow the command.

So ATC doesn’t HAVE to give the ‘exit runway when able comment’? Is it ATC’s choice?

Above it’s being stated that you have to wait for the controller to get to you and not just change frequencies by yourself. Others say to do just that!
To me that’s contradicting.

Is it ATC’s choice

I’m not sure. In IF ATC should give you the exit command, but on the other hand you have to leave the runway even without this command. After leaving the runway and being behind the hold short line, you should always contact ground. You should not switch to ground when still on the runway without being asked.

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What about the two options ATC has in terms of just instructing you to contact Ground or doing it with a hand-off?